IOM in Thessaloniki
15 November 2017
On Wednesday 15 November a delegation of the Greek Mission of IOM, the UN Migration Agency travelled in Thessaloniki in the framework of an informative event of the programme "The implementation of assisted voluntary returns including reintegration measures".
Present were in Thessaloniki, Deputy Minister of Migration Policy, Yannis Balafas, General Secretary of Coordination of Ministry of Interior, Tzanetos Filipakos, and Brigadier, Panagiotis Marketakis, Head of European and Development Programs Division.
Daniel Esdras, Special Envoy of IOM Director General to the Greek Government underlined the significance of the programme emphasizing the humane conditions of voluntary returns.
From June 2016 until the 8th of November 2017, IOM has implemented 8,361 voluntary returns, amongst them 1,949 from the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Leros, Kos and Crete.
"Since the closing of the Greek borders, Greece has become a country of stranded migrants and given the increased migration flows during the last few months, assisted voluntary returns including reintegration measures programme is more crucial than ever", said Deputy Minister of Migration Policy, Yannis Balafas.
IOM Mission in Greece plays an important role on the world map of Voluntary Return and Reintegration programmes, having helped almost 40,000 third-country nationals to return home in safety and dignity since 2010.
"The Ministry of Interior and the Greek Police have developed and excellent cooperation with IOM, based on respect of international law and human rights", said Tzanetos Filipakos, General Secretary of Coordination of Ministry of Interior.
At the same time, June 2016 - 8 November 2017, IOM has implemented 2,194 personalized reintegration plans. "Voluntary Return programme is our top priority and so far the results are really encouraging. The project is focused on reintegration measures, a fact that underlines its humanitarian nature", mentioned Panagiotis Marketakis, Head of European and Development Programs Division.
The programme is implemented by IOM Greece in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior, 75% of which is financed by European funds (Fund Asylum, Immigration and Integration) and 25% by national resources.